Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday Serendipity

Hadn't heard this, nor heard of it, but it just popped onto my YouTube suggestion page.

I knew Michael Caine had served in Korea, and with the Royal Fusiliers, but had never heard any details.

Apparently, after the passage of enough time, apparently Sir Maurice feels that it's something to finally speak about.

Think about this little excerpt the next time Zulu, The Man Who Would Be King, The Eagle Has Landed, or Secondhand Lions is on the tube, or you pop one of those in the player to watch. And see with new eyes a former 19-year-old private, with an antiquated bolt-action Lee-Enfield rifle, facing waves of Chinese troops hurtling towards your lines, tennis shoes squeaking, voices shouting, bugles blowing, under swinging parachute illumination rounds.

Chard: "You're saying I'm the amateur and you're the professional."
Bromhead: "No. I'm saying that right now, I wish I was a damned ranker, like Hitch...or Hook."

Six minutes' thoughts from an actor who's actually been that kid is worth six years of blather from those who never served, anywhere, at any time, let alone in an unpopular war, in a strange, unknown land, for nebulous reasons.

And bear well in mind that unlike literal battalions of those mouthy celebutards, whatever (rare as hen's teeth, AFAIK) pronouncements he's made or ever does make on war, politics, etc., that this is coming from someone who's actually killed communists for Queen and country.

I'm getting the book, The Elephant To Hollywood, which came out in 2010, and the version of him reading it as well.
If this is a sample, it's a steal at twice the price.
I'll let you know how it turns out.


MMinAR said...

That was a gem, as were your comments.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aesop said...

엿 먹어라.
한국어 스팸 봇
고양이 먹는 걸 그만둬라.
망할 놈.

Anonymous said...

Always liked his acting, many memorable performances. Now, well... What courage. I never knew this.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite actors (along with Robert Duvall, which makes Secondhand Lions high on my list of favorite movies) and an amazing story there.

Mark D

Badger said...

A vote to hear your review of the book cited; always interested in building up the shelves, which move to the nightstand late in the year. Vinter ist lang Kamerad.

Don said...

One minor nitpick, being a fan of British military rifles: the service rifle used by the Brits at the time was the Martini-Henry single shot rifle(similar in some respects to our own Springfield 1873 trapdoor). The Martini-Henry was black powder, pushing a .577 diameter bullet.
The Lee-Enfield was introduced in the mid 1890s, and used a smaller bullet, the .303. The Wikipedia article is a good summary: .
Mr. Caine, along with Bob Hoskins(Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Zulu Dawn) are two of my favorite British actors.
I'm fortunate enough to own a pretty good collection of British rifles, ranging from the Brown Bess to the Enfield Jungle Carbine. Shooting them? Not so much anymore, due to perpetually being on the road for work.

Aesop said...

Nitpick away, sir, but you're mistaken, being a fan of Michael Caine.

I wasn't remotely referring to the British service rifle at Rorke's Drift in 1879, which was indeed a Martini-Henry (for crying out loud, its description is a line in the movie I've only seen about 50 times). I would have thought my description of Chinese soldiers advancing in tennis shoes with bugles blowing might perhaps have tipped anyone off in that respect.

I was referring to the rifle Caine described being trained on for national service and subsequently carried in Korea in actual combat with the Royal Fusiliers circa 1951, not pretend-war in a movie in Swaziland in 1963. If you'd listened to the posted excerpt from his memoir, which I recommend, as it was rather the entire point of the post, you'd have known that, eh?

I may not hit the X-ring all the time, but I don't usually miss the bullseye that widely.

Other than that, you were spot-on, and I share your appreciation for British rifles, if not your collection of same.

If I ever hit the powerball, I wouldn't buy their rifles, but I would have someone hereabouts make a run of replica Martini-Henrys from the 1870 era, exact in every respect except chambered in .45-70, for the couple of hundred Zulu fanatics who'd shoot them in competitions, hunting, or just to cosplay with live ammo.

I'd even give serious thought to taking one on a bucket-list African safari.


Aesop said...

And on the brighter side, it seems my reply in Hangul induced the spammer it was addressed to, to tiptoe back and quietly delete his posting info after I wiped his message link.

I hope he appreciated the sentiments.

Anonymous said...

"I decided I'd nothing to lose".......remember that line, and what action resulted

The Gray Man said...

Doesn't taste that bad.

Aesop said...

다른 흰 고기

RandyGC said...


And let us no forget his role in A Bridge Too Far. " Christ, not us again. "

Classic take down on the spammer

Gamsahamnida for the laugh. And for the video link.

I almost recognized the characters in the first line but had to run through translation to be sure. Many moons since my time in the Land of the Morning Calm.